If Florida State wants to get its season onto a more positive track, it would serve itself well by knocking off Charlotte on the road on Saturday afternoon.
The Seminoles (6-4) have won consecutive games over Maine and Louisiana-Monroe, but considering they have four forgettable losses that won’t resonate too well with the NCAA selection committee, beating the 49ers (11-1) in their home building would be a nice boost. But it won’t be easy.
Charlotte is athletic and will have the energy of playing at home. The 49ers haven’t exactly beaten any big-time opponents, but they do have wins over East Carolina, Davidson and Central Michigan. They were crushed at Miami last Friday, however.
Michael Snaer (14.2 ppg) and Okaro White (13.5) are the Seminoles’ only double-figure scorers. FSU has just two more non-conference games (vs. Tulsa and at Auburn) before ACC play begins, so now’s the time for Leonard Hamilton’s team to find itself.
Pick: Florida State 60-57.
Stony Brook (8-2) at Maryland (9-1) When: 8 p.m. Full Court Press: The Seawolves routed Cornell but don’t have any other notable victories. They’ve lost to Sacred Heart (by 2) and by 11 points at UConn. Maryland continues to develop its younger players and mesh together. Pick: Maryland 77-61.
Dec. 22 McNeese State (6-3) at North Carolina (8-3) When: Noon Full Court Press: This is a very important game for UNC’s psyche and development. Whatever approach it is Roy Williams chooses to employ the rest of the season, it needs to begin now, and along with it UNC’s other problem areas much be primary focuses. The Cowboys have beaten Texas Tech but lost to LSU by 25, SE Missouri by 11 and Ole Miss by 26. Pick: North Carolina 88-64.
Providence (8-2) at Boston College (5-5) When: 2 p.m. Full Court Press: The Friars aren’t going to challenge for much in the Big East, but they should beat the Eagles. Providence has lost to UMass and Penn State, but by a combined five points. Best wins are over a struggling Mississippi State team and Rhode Island. BC just hasn’t played well. This is a rivalry that goes way back, so just about anything can happen. Pick: Providence 67-60.
Wake Forest (5-5) at UNC-Greensboro (2-7) When: 2:30 p.m. Full Court Press: Wes Miller’s squad is really struggling and is allowing a lot of points. Wake needs a feel-good game, but UNC-Greensboro will be ready and will play one of its best games. This will be closer than it should. Pick: Wake Forest 78-71.
St. Bonaventure (7-3) at N.C. State (8-2) When: 3 p.m. Full Court Press: In comparing scores of common opponents, the Bonnies beat Cleveland State 87-53, while North Carolina State beat the Vikings 80-63. Interesting, but there’s not much you can take from that, though St. Bonaventure scored 97 points in its last outing, so it may challenge State’s sometimes so-so defense. The Wolfpack, which won at the Bonnies a year ago at the buzzer, are playing well. This might be an entertaining game. Pick: N.C. State 86-73.
The Citadel (3-6) at Georgia Tech (7-2) When: 4 p.m. Full Court Press: The young and developing Yellow Jackets welcome Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole to the lineup, joining his younger brother, Solomon, who made his debut Monday. Tech still has plenty of meshing to do, but the process has been interesting, especially as it wins. Pick: Georgia Tech 77-55.
Virginia (9-2) vs. Old Dominion (1-10) When: 5:30 p.m. Full Court Press: This is the worst Monarchs team in decades, which is a surprise because Blaine Taylor is an excellent coach and Old Dominion usually has talent. Virginia can’t let the Monarchs gain confidence and must open up an early lead and cruise from there. BTW, the game is being played in Richmond. Pick: Virginia 68-54.
Bradley (8-2) at Virginia Tech (8-2) When: 8 p.m. Full Court Press: This is another of several interesting games pitting ACC teams against quality mid-majors. And the reality is that the Braves are more than capable of leaving Cassell Coliseum with a victory. Their losses are to South Florida and Michigan, and their best win is probably over George Washington. The Hokies lost at home to Georgia Southern their last time out. That makes this a near must-win. Pick: Virginia Tech 80-75.
Dec. 23 Miami (7-1) at Hawaii (5-3) When: 12:30 a.m. Full Court Press: In the opening round of the eight-team Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head
Classic, the Hurricanes will play their fourth true road game against a
Warriors team that has lost to Illinois by a point in overtime, at UNLV
and to Pepperdine. This game will once again test Miami’s focus and
intensity. Tough assignment, but the ‘Canes have too much to excuse a
loss. Pick: Miami 79-72.
South Carolina State (4-8) at Clemson (6-4) When: 2 p.m. Full Court Press: Fresh off a shocking 23-point loss at Coastal Carolina, Clemson has a lot to prove against a team it should handle. Only a blowout with domination on the glass with limited number of turnovers will suffice. Pick: Clemson 77-56.